slowest half marathon ever

I'm not much of a runner, yet I often randomly find myself thinking, "It'd be cool to participate in some kind of timed [for glory!], long-distance [more than a couple miles], leg-moving activity." Usually I am dissuaded from acting on these thoughts by the following:
  • I believe there is a registration fee for most things of this nature. Boo fees.
  • I doubt that I would do well enough for my satisfaction. I am a harsh critic and a pathetic runner. Not a good combination.
I figured that one day [that ever elusive day in the future] I would cave, buy in to some trendy running event [the Color Run always looks fun], and just do it. I figured I would just keep Do Some Running With An Absurd Number of People on my bucket list until a convenient occasion arose [ORU's Fun Run doesn't count, for some reason]. I never figured on semi-checking this off my list the day after consuming a pound of mashed potatoes and pie. 

But that is what I did.

I am pleased to announce that Jason and I have completed A HALF MARATHON.


Sigh. Alas, my conscience will not allow me to leave it at that, so I suppose this requires a slight disclaimer. I have completed a half marathon... if running a half marathon equals traversing over 13 miles, eating pizza at a Magical Pizzeria, Resisting the Urge to Pee, eating chestnuts, gazing upon a real-life Ugly Naked Guy, visiting the Magical Pizzeria once more, and accumulating [and subsequently employing] chutzpah.

Before getting into all of those minor details, however, I think the common thing to do is to proudly state one's time accompanied by a picture of the victorious ones. So. To make this authentic, here we go:

We finished our half marathon in 11 hours 37 minutes. That is over 1 mile/hour [thanks to my Math Man* and his quick calculating skills!]. We are the chapped lips champions.

Now to elaborate. 

Jason and I went to New York amidst Black Friday madness. We walked and walked and walked. It was such a splendid, absolutely tiring day.

Our trip this year was planned around our $16 Megabus tickets from Newark, DE, to New York City. It was an excellent purchase. Our tickets were $5 to NY and $3 back to DE per person. As the prices rose a week or so later to $20 per person each way, we felt quite lucky. In addition to the great prices, there were options for arriving and returning that fit perfectly with our Adventure Desires [spending the entire day without feeling the need to stay overnight]. Perfect.

Front row!  
Our bus left at 6 a.m. [from one of University of Delaware's parking lots (in which Jason's parking pass conveniently worked)]. There were few enough people and we were some of the first to board that we even scored the front row seats on the second deck of the bus. It was like a 2.5 hour amusement park ride filled with "Oh goodness, we are not going to  make this turn!" and "Duck! We are not going to make it under this tunnel!" Since we woke up at 4:30 a.m. and knew we had a long day ahead of us, we both fell promptly to sleep as soon as we hit the interstate and there were no more sights to see from our front row seats. However, thanks to Jason's excellent inner clock, we woke up just in time to experience the Entering of the City.

Being the super-organized-when-we-want-to-be people that we are, we had printed out a map of NYC and labelled all the things we wished to visit [plus some, just in case we had extra time]. Jason carried along a pencil and we traced our route progress throughout the day. It probably gave the appearance of two lost tourists [and we were even asked once if we needed help finding something], but looks can be deceiving! We were quite the opposite of lost; we knew exactly where we were, where we'd been, and where we were going. 
Awesome bench idea.

First stop on our map was the High Line. Think railroad tracks, odd sculptures, and winterized foliage. Honestly, what I found most appealing [aside from the peacefulness of it all] were the benches. Since it was still early morning and my fingers had yet to acclimate from the warm bus to the chilly outdoors, I didn't take many pictures, so I found this one from the interwebs. The benches seem to just come right out of the sidewalk! I thought it was extremely clever.

We entered the High Line somewhere in the middle of its 1.5 mile stretch, so we first headed to the south end and then retraced our steps back and went all the way to the north end. On our way back up, we had a visual run-in with the aforementioned Ugly Naked Guy. There was a hotel. There were many windows. There was a man who, from a distance, seemed to be standing up against his hotel window wearing some skimpy underwear. As our legs took us closer and closer to the hotel, the illusion of underwear was removed. I wished for the illusion again. Twas not a sight I wanted to see before Second Breakfast. To be fair to him, I suppose, he may not have been Ugly, but he most definitely was Naked so... If 2/3 words fit, the name is considered appropriate in my book. Plus, if there's anything I've learned from the Vermettes, you should never waste an opportunity to make a Friends reference. More to come.

Times Square was the obvious next stop on our route so off we went. We made a few pit stops in several brands of chocolate stores [free samples!]. We strolled into a retail store [American Eagle, I think?] to check out the Black Friday madness and quickly were reminded why we are not shoppers. We saw people dressed up as Minions and Buzz Lightyear [gigantic head, tiny wings]. The big ad campaigns for all the screens and billboards and buses and taxi tops were Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and something [a show?] called Mob City (?). I suppose the new Disney movie Frozen also had its fair share of the limelight [I really want to see it, even though I have absolutely no idea what the story is about since the advertisements for it are focused solely on Snowman Olaf and his reindeer friend and apparently they aren't the main characters? ]. Times Square was as shiny and larger than life as always.

About this time in a half marathon is when you take a pizza break, right? Good. Because that's what we did. Now, we'd had pizza on the brain for quite a while but for whatever reason we had not seen anything that appealed to us. It felt like we walked round and round and round without finding any pizza other than Sbarro. The situation was getting desperate. Once my mind gets set on FOOD, I can't think of anything else. I was nearing the point in time where my brain goes into starvation mode [not my stomach, but my brain], the point in time where the whole day collapses into a puddle of sadness... And then! Right as I was slipping into the "Well, I guess we just won't get to eat anything ever and for always," I see a sign. It says PIZZA. We were saved! No one would die of mental hunger or sadness.

I mentioned earlier that it was a Magical Pizzeria, but at this point we didn't realize it was a Magical Pizzeria, so that will be explained later. The important thing here is that we ate pizza. I had one topped with tomatoes and onions and mushrooms and broccoli, while Jason had a slice of cheesy Sicilian. Delicious! Once refueled, it was off to the races again!

I am secretly offended on behalf of all of my bovine friends.
Next stop was Rockefeller Center. I valiantly won the fight between Frugality and Outdoor Ice Skating [You know how many pizzas I could buy with the $54 we saved?!]. We observed the not-yet-lighted Christmas tree. Jason and I both discovered a curb where we were unaware a curb should be. We observed all the antics of the Lego Rockefeller Center [Lego now has dogs! that can be walked on leashes! When I was a kid, my Lego dog consisted of a 2x4 with a 2x1 for a head and legs. Lucky kids these days...]. We went into the NBC Experience Store just to see the section dedicated to Friends. I especially liked the shirt that read "He's my lobster!" and the Moo Point [it truly is brilliant]. Sadly, jacked up prices make for no souvenirs. But at least I have a picture!
His name is Chad.

We then wandered up towards Central Park. List of things to do:  Explore FAO Schwarz, gaze upon all the pretty horses giving carriage rides, and then get lost in the Park itself. I can say with much satisfaction that we accomplished all three tasks. Did you know you can buy a 16-foot giraffe for only $7999.99? You can. Go get one today. Did you know that the FAO stands for Frederick August Otto? Now you do. And worry no longer about what you will name your first son. Did you know that I have a secret boyfriend who is a debonair Lego man? Neither did Jason, but we've reconciled. Also, I would have more pictures of Jason with Lego Batman or Lego Pirate Man or Lego Man From Halo [I just noticed a trend here... there were no Lego Ladies. Que paso! (Jason: "I don't think that means what you think it means.")], but he's camera shy sometimes. OH. And still related to Legos, did you know they now have an entire book filled with things to make with Legos?! It's crazy cool. If I still had my bucket of Legos...

On to Central Park. There were dozens of pretty horses all dressed up for carriage rides outside of Central Park. Unfortunately, they are $50 for a 20-minute ride. Psh. So we just walked around and looked at them all. This, of course, means that every other carriage driver asks if we want a ride which inevitably leads to us not wanting to linger about the area. We saw one horse skillfully tip his bucket of oats over and then right it again with his nose. I like to think he was just sharing his meal with the hundreds of overweight pigeons and squirrels flocking around all the carriages. Once we finished horse gazing, we bought a pretzel and a bag of roasted chestnuts from a street vendor and commenced our Central Park explorations.
It's a thinker, that's for sure.

There's not much to mention about this part of our adventuring, I suppose, since all we did was walk along the various paths with no particular route or destination in mind. We did find an odd exhibit called Eight Giant Red Snails [or those words in a different order], and I persuaded Jason to contemplate the deeper meaning of this display. He was cooperative but unsuccessful. The snail was no help either. We also stumbled upon a castle and got to climb up some spiral staircases to the top. We took the obligatory picture. Sad story:  When we got back to the bottom of the castle, we saw a tiny little tiger glove left on one of the stone walls. He had no companion or owner in sight. I fear the tiny tiger had a long, cold night ahead of him.

Time for some chutzpah. So, apparently, both the Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are sneaky little institutions. If you go to their websites, they have the usual "Admissions" section where they outline the prices of admission and such. However, if you are unfamiliar with them or just are skimming such a section for price info, you may very well not realize that the prices are only recommended admission prices, or "suggested donations." To make it even more confusing, they also, in contrast, list member admission prices as Free. So, if you aren't a member, $25. If you are a member, Free. But to become a member, you have to pay some absurd fee/donation. So... What's the dealio? Welp, admission is technically free. But, if you don't look at it closely enough or are vague on what in the world it means ["Can we actually just ignore these outrageous prices and just walk in without paying?"], you may just decide not to visit these gigantic places of Interesting Things to See. Upon further research, it seems that as long as you're willing to walk up to the ticket counter, look the official ticket lady in the face and say that you do not want to pay the recommended donation and that you only think their museum is worth, say, $1 a person and not $25 and that, by the way, they should offer free pizza and chocolate...! Well. She cannot deny you. [She cannot deny you the admission, but she probably can (and will) deny you the pizza and chocolate.]

Armed with this information, we decided to go for it. We accumulated as much chutzpah as two not-very-chutzpah-filled people can accumulate and made our way out of Central Park and towards the Museums. As we did not think we would have enough time [or chutzpah] to go to both museums, we chose to explore the Museum of Natural History. We walked in. We wandered around the foyer pretending we weren't about to be cheapskates. And then... I telepathically shoved all of my chutzpah into Jason's brain and told him to go Do the Deed. Yes, he does my dirty work. Reason #849 that I love him. [And, I find it fascinating that he continues to love me despite the fact that I pretend not to know him while he's carrying out my dirty work. Keeper.]
One of many gorgeous species.  

So yes, Jason chutzpah-ed his way through the ticket counter for a "donation" of $1 each. Excellent. It was $2 well spent, I think. We explored just a fraction of the place, and there always seemed to be something new around the corner. We enjoyed the animal displays the best. Some of them were extremely life-like, and the way the painted scenery just melded into the actual scenery in each display was quite impressive. The details were spot on. And did you know the number of different horned/antlered animals is absolutely ridiculous? Well, it is. They all looked so similar, yet so different. God is such an awe-inspiring artist and creator. Anyway, there were also hours worth of more educational displays, but we really didn't have time [or energy] to be educated this trip. Maybe next time.

By this time, we were plumb tuckered out. The oddest muscles and joints were sore beyond belief from the miles we had walked up to this point [I'm too lazy to calculate the exact number] and the slow meandering pace that we used to walk circles upon circles in the museum. Between the bottoms of my feet, some weird spot in my upper thighs, and my lower back, I officially felt like an old person. I think if I had listened closely, I would have audibly heard my joints creaking. We were sitting down every time we saw an open bench, regardless of the display, which probably was about every 3 minutes. The benches were like little pieces of heaven placed in front of bow and arrow, basket weaving, and South American wrestling match displays.

How in the world was it only just past 4 o'clock. We were only 2/3 of the way done with our day! Oy. What a day. I am 100% convinced that,  if you are already weary and sore, it is significantly less tiring to walk quickly than to walk slowly with a lot of starts and stops and pauses. Science [maybe]! So, thankfully, once we were back outside and briskly walking without making a lot of stops, my soreness and weariness were less noticeable. Good thing, too, since we still had quite a bit of walking to do. I believe we next started our Christmas Window Display viewings. We went from Bloomingdale's to Barneys to Bergdorf Goodman. Darkness was upon us by this time, so it was perfect timing. Oh how I love Christmasy things! By the time we were finished with these three stores, we decided to head back to Times Square to see it at night.

We were also getting hungry for dinner now and decided to be lame [or brilliant!] and eat the same thing we had had for lunch: Pizza! Boy, do I love a good slice of vegetable pizza. So yummy. But, then, disaster struck! We carefully studied our map and the route we had traveled earlier and made an educated guess as to the whereabouts of the tasty pizzeria we had visited earlier. But upon reaching the spot, there was no pizza to be found. Tragedy! We knew we hadn't quite accurately traced our path to the pizzeria earlier [remember, earlier we had just seen a sign off in the distance and promptly deviated from our planned route, without taking care to note specific directions] so we were devastated to be in the same spot we were in 6 hours earlier: Desperately hungry and no pizza in sight.

We wandered about for a bit but knew we were running out of time. We still had a few more sights to see and still had quite a walk to get to our bus stop, and we knew if we didn't get food quickly, we most likely would not be able to eat until we got home after 11. So just as we were about to give up the search and go find something mediocre and less happy and not pizza, just as our spirits reached their lowest points of the day [since earlier when we couldn't find pizza], just as our perfect day teetered on the brink of no-longer-perfect...!

We found it. We literally were standing on a corner, about to head off pizza-less towards the rest of our sight-seeing route, and Jason happened to look to his right, and there it was. On that corner. Less than 20 feet away. This is where the Magical Pizzeria gets its name. I believe it is a place of magical wonder, a place that appears when you are at your lowest and are in desperate need of a pizza miracle. It's a beautiful thing, this Magical Pizzeria. I will not forget you**.

Science again! I said science again!
Once refueled, we were able to finish our adventures on an energized note. We looked at the Christmas Window Displays for Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, and Macy's. Our favorite this year was Saks. They had a story of a Yeti who made friendly snowflakes.

We only had one last hiccup in that we were under the impression the bus stop was at one particular location and it was actually another block or so farther, but we made it there with plenty of time regardless. And with that, we had unknowingly completed our first half marathon. Our completion time is laughable, but I think it is semi-respectable when you take into account all of the pizza and pit stops and pedestrian crossings and pigeons. Respectable indeed.

Unfortunately, some people finagled their way on to the bus before people were officially allowed to board so, even though we were in the front of the line, we were unable to get front row seats on the top deck. I decided to sleep the entire way back though, so I still had a perfectly lovely trip home. We made excellent time back to Newark. Waking up and stumbling off the bus after all of my muscles had solidified into a mass of soreness was my last bit of entertainment for the night. What a good day.

Boom. I'm done. I have detailed our entire adventure for future generations. Now I'm tired. And I really want pizza...

Accurate representation of post-half-marathaon us.

*As I write this, my beloved Math Man is pleasure reading... a book titled, "Amusements in Mathematics." No lie. He's the best.

**I currently still do not know the real name of the pizzeria nor at which cross streets it lies... Sigh.    


  1. Lol, I don't konw if those puppies represent you...The one looks like it was trying to play/bite the other one. Too much energy for you at the time. Oh, and Jonathan and I have definitely been at the point where you are 1) desperately hungry, 2) trying to find a place, 3) thinking you may never find a place, and 4) thinking if you don't find one now, you won't be able to eat until forever. And, I agree, standing and stopping is much worse than walking.

  2. Oh! And there is now to be a Lego movie! I learned about it in the previews of Frozen.